Frequently Asked Questions: What Students Should Know About Pronouns in Use

How do I register my pronouns? 

Students can register their pronoun in use on CourseWorks via the NameCoach option:

  • Open a Chrome or Firefox web browser. (Note: Safari will not work for NameCoach recording.)
  • Log into CourseWorks.
  • Find the “NameCoach” link on the left-hand navigation of your Courseworks/Canvas course.
  • Click the “Record Name” button next to your name, and a drop-down menu will appear.
  • Select your Pronouns in Use from that drop menu. (Note: you are welcome to record your name in addition to registering your pronouns at this point in the process; however, recording your name is not required before registering your pronouns).
  • When you're done, click "Submit and Finish."    

What are Pronouns in Use?  

These are the pronouns that students use and want their faculty to use when referring to them. All students in the Mailman School of Public Health, the Business School and the School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) are welcome to register their pronouns.

This may be particularly useful for those students who do not identify as male or female or by the gendered pronouns found in many languages. For example, many gender nonbinary students use gender-neutral pronouns such as they/them/theirs or ze/hir/hirs.

Students who have gender-neutral names may also find this option useful.

Why would someone register the pronouns they use? 

We introduced this program because it’s not always possible to tell which pronouns a person uses by their appearance or name. In particular, this may be true for students who are gender nonbinary or who have names that are gender neutral or from a language that is unfamiliar to faculty.

I'm not a Mailman, Business School or SIPA student, but I am taking a course in one of those schools in Spring 2020. Can I register my Pronouns in Use?

Yes. All students registered in Mailman, Business School or SIPA courses will be able to register their pronouns for those courses.

What are the possible options for Pronouns in Use

At Columbia, students can select from these options:

  • She/Her/Hers

  • He/Him/His

  • They/Them/Theirs

  • Ze/Hir/Hirs

  • Use my name as my pronoun

What if I want to register my Pronouns in Use midsemester?

Students who register their pronouns midsemester should inform their instructors of the change. 

Once I register my pronouns in CourseWorks, where will they appear?

Once you register your pronouns, they will appear in the NameCoach section of CourseWorks. If you record your name and register your pronouns, your pronouns will appear under the "Recorded Names" tab. Please note: If you do not record your name your pronouns will appear under the "Unrecorded Names" tab. 

During this pilot phase of the Pronouns in Use project, your pronouns will only appear in your classes at the Business School, Mailman or SIPA. However, you do not need to enter the information for each course individually. You only need to register your pronouns once and they will appear in your other Business School, Mailman or SIPA courses. 

Pronouns will not appear in other CourseWorks areas, such as the class roster. Therefore we encourage faculty and students to review NameCoach. Your parents (or emergency contacts) will not see this information, nor will it appear on your transcript. 

What if my pronouns appear incorrectly on the class roster?

We are working to create as inclusive a space as possible for all students, and we know that it can be frustrating to see your pronouns incorrectly listed. Please write to the CourseWorks team at and someone from the team will respond to you within 1-2 business days. 

What if my professor or other teaching staff forget to use my Pronouns in Use?

Learning to use the correct pronouns can sometimes take time, and mistakes may happen. The registration of pronouns in use is a new option in CourseWorks, and the Office of University Life and the Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action are available to assist students, faculty and staff in navigating this new option. The Center for Teaching and Learning is also a resource for faculty who are working to develop teaching practices that recognize issues of diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging.


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